E-mail - When to Start Adding Fertilizer to Seedlings


How soon should I give my plants fertilizer, I have read a lot of posts about nutrient burn and over fertilizing and I don’t want this, but I want my plants to grow great.

Thanks for your question. As I often say, it depends. It first depends on the medium you are growing in, soilless mediums will need nutrients from the first watering. I often suggest ½ to ¼ what the manufactures suggest for the first few watering. Once the plants are established and obviously growing, you can then go to the manufactures suggested amount of fertilizer. To be honest, I think most of the time fertilizer burn is due to people trying to get more out of their plants by adding more fertilizer. This is like saying taking more vitamins will make you healthier, it won’t. In fact some vitamins, just like plant nutrients, are toxic at high amounts.

If you grow in soil, I often recommend using straight water for the first watering or two, then using ½ the manufactures recommended amount until you see visible growth.

It also depends on the plant you are growing. A fast growing plant will need more nutrients than say a cactus. A large plant will use more nutrients than a small plant. You will need to evaluate for yourself what type of plant you are growing.

If you do over fertilizer, I have written a post about how to deal with over fertilizing your plants.

Good Growing,

Dr. E.R. Myers

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